Tag Archives: annoyed

where we left off and other updates

Standard

The last time I posted I was talking about our valentine grandparents tea and that went off without a problem and everyone had an awesome time!  Even Ms. Lezze-Faire made an appearance and seemed to enjoy herself!  The children made little flowers with sucker centers for the favors…we had enough left over to give each teacher one!

The rest of that school year went fairly well with the majority of my students being more then ready for Kindergarten.   That left me feeling good for what this year would bring.  But, being the buzz kill she is, Ms Lezze-Faire came to me literally days before school was to start and told me that I basically sucked at doing my job.

She said that a certain parent (and that parent’s kindergarten teacher) had complained that the child wasn’t ready for kindergarten because I hadn’t done my job properly.  She said they had complained that the child couldn’t sit still for long periods of time and couldn’t color correctly.  She said this was due to the fact that I didn’t do worksheets in my class.

Um, hello?  Are you serious?  First of all, if the only 2 complaints they had were about attention span and coloring, I think that’s pretty good.  Secondly, some children will always have a hard time sitting for long periods, especially if what is being done doesn’t hold their attention.  Thirdly, who cares if they aren’t perfect at coloring?  It’s coloring…not brain surgery.  Duh.

So anyway, she told me that I had to do worksheets or that she’d fire me and find someone to replace who would do them.  So there.  That’s what I got 2 days before school started.  Fine.  I’ll do what I have to do to keep my job.  No one wants to be out of work in this economy.  So i started scouring the internet for paperwork I liked…which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Let me be clear on this:  I am not against paperwork…I’m against worksheets.  They are different.  I don’t like the thought of children tediously tracing something or counting pictures and circling a number.  I don’t like the thought of children drawing a line to match two pictures on a paper.  It’s just too passive…and doesn’t really engage the child in learning.   I have no problem if the children are doing an activity and recording their findings (that’s what real scientists do after all).  I also have no problem with my children creating books and filling in letters or stamping a certain amount of items or something similar.  So for a lot of my paperwork, that’s how I set it up…the children are simply doing a hands-on activity and recording what they find (much easier with number activities…letters, not so much).  It has seemed to work so far.

This year I have 10 children showing up consistently.  I have 12 on my roll.  I only have 3 girls…and lots of wild crazy boys!  Sooo….I’m trying to find ways to keep them interested and engaged…which is not as easy as it sounds.  So far, I have done okay…but I think I can do better.

Mid year progress reports have just gone out and most of my kids are right where I want them to be…so I’m happy.  I’m hoping they continue to progress over the next 5 months…and hopefully the ones who are behind start to catch up.  Now that I know where they are all, I know who to spend more time with and what area they need extra support.  I look forward to telling you all stories of our days together…it feels good to be back.

invisible?

Standard

Today when I logged onto my computer I read this article on Yahoo talking about the most surprising top ten lowest paying jobs.  Read number 4.  Are you surprised?  I wasn’t.  It made me wonder why.  Are we undervalued?  Misunderstood?  Why do we always end up on lists like this?  Why, when we have such important jobs, are we forced into obscurity and looked down upon in society?

I recently took a trip to go and see my sister.  I met some of her friends (all have at least a Masters degree) and when they asked me what I did for a living, and I told them, they checked out.  They dismissed me – it was like they felt it was below them to talk to me.  I was literally ignored the rest of the evening – it was like I was invisible.  That hurt.  And just because I teach the very young and only have an AA.  And it wasn’t the first time something like that has happened.

Why are we underpaid, under-appreciated, and overlooked?  Is it because we aren’t unionized?  If so, I think that’s a silly reason!  Is it because we’re not part of the school districts (in most, but not all cases)?  That’s another silly reason!  Just because our children are small doesn’t make our job any less important then a college professor’s!  In fact, it’s more important.  We are a child’s first point of contact when it comes to education.  We have them before their brains are fully formed – we help form their brains and essentially help form who these children become – so why don’t we matter as much as all the other educators out there?!

I’m venting, I know – but lets face it, I’m not the only one who feels this way.  I hope that with time people will come to see that we aren’t just glorified babysitters – I hope in time we get the respect we know we deserve.  But in the meantime I will continue to do the best I can as a teacher – not for society or those people who look down on me – but for the children who matter the most.

a little update

Standard

I was thinking this weekend that some of my faithful followers (thank you!) out there might be wanting an update on the dilemma I am having surrounding the dreaded worksheet.  This is a topic I have vented/complained/bitched (sorry for the vulgarity) about before and it is something I am being forced to do in my classroom this year.

Here’s how it works out for me:

One worksheet I send home each week pertains to the Letter of the Week (something I also hate doing because it never seems to really teach the kids the letters – in my experience).  Since I simply refuse to do any tracing in my class I had to go another route.  I found this paper to go with every letter of the alphabet.  I  modify it by using white out on the bottom to get rid of the boxes and just leave a line.  There is no way my 3/4 year olds can write small enough to fit in those little boxes – and I wouldn’t expect them to!  Sometimes I type new directions to say something like put a square around the letter or highlight it a certain color.  I try to switch it up – keep it interesting.

The second page I send home each week is a blank piece of paper that I put 4 black lines on.  I made the lines with my word processing program so I know they are straight.  On the first line I write the child’s name in red sharpie and on the lines below I have each child try to write their name (they basically try to copy what I wrote for them at the top).  I make sure to leave a nice wide space between each line so the children who write big have plenty of room.  The lines are basically there so the children don’t write random letters all over the page or write their name vertically.  It seems to be working so far.  Right now we are only working on our first names – when I see a child has mastered their first name, we will move on to their last name.

The last page is usually some sort of science or math paper.  This last week it was recording the length of ocean animals.  Next week I think maybe a sink/float recording sheet.  At other times it might be sorting or counting or something like that – whatever I manage to find free online (usually through teacher websites) that fit our theme or look appropriate for a preschool aged child.

At parents night I told my parents to only expect 2 – maybe 3 – papers a week.  That’s all we feel are necessary as we don’t want to overload the child with paperwork.  Also we want all the part time children to complete one paper so we can all move on to the next together.  I wanted to tell them I was being forced to do worksheets and that I was sorry for offering materials to their children that were not developmentally appropriate – but I felt that would be out of line.

I do feel guilty though – and I just can’t seem to get over it.  Everytime I sit a child down to do a worksheet with them I think, “They could be doing something way more productive right now!”  But, we do what we must.  If anyone has any good resources for paperwork (free) post a link on a comment – I’ll be glad to give it a look!

Hopefully my parents are happy this year and don’t complain a lot like my parents last year.  I’ll keep you posted if any worksheet drama pops up in the future!  🙂

so not good

Standard

Today wasn’t a very good day.  Horrible would be a better description.  Or maybe disastrous .  I dunno.  A coworker and I got into a little fight confrontation first thing this morning.  I just don’t like it when people come into my room and try to tell me what to do.  She wasn’t doing that out-right…but she was doing it.  And seeing how I seem to be getting sick again before I can get well and I’ve been getting little to no sleep because of it – I kinda lost my temper.  Ok – let’s be honest – I yelled at her.  I said something along the lines of “Mind your own business” and she said something along the lines of “You have a horrible attitude!”  and then walked out – both of us upset and nothing resolved. To be honest – I don’t really remember the whole thing.  This is not something I would ever do…ever.  I don’t know what came over me.

Then being light-headed and being in the middle of  a coughing fit I shakily sat down in a chair and tried my hardest not to cry.  Right there in the middle of my room.  At journal time.  With children present.  The only thing I could think was “I want to go home!” and “I’m the worst teacher there ever was!” and “I might as well just quit now!”   I am now officially defeated and completely burned out.  That was really the low point of my day – beside the fact that I feel like crap.  The rest of the day was quite pleasant compared to that little episode the breakdown. The children were great today!  They didn’t seem to have taken any notice of what happened.  But that doesn’t make it any better.

I know everyone knows what happened.  The teacher I had this conflict with is the biggest gossip on earth.  Really.  No lie.  No one said anything of course – not even Ms. Lezze-Faire – although I know she knows.  Maybe everyone is shrugging it off as me having a bad day (because I’m telling you – I’m never like this at work!).

I don’t know – I just feel like crap for letting it happen…I should have held my tongue – been the bigger person.  But for some reason – I just snapped – before I had time to stop myself – before I could think about what I was doing – and then before I know it – it was over.  Done.  And you can’t take back something that’s done.  I want a redo – it would be different – better.  I know it would.  Hopefully tomorrow goes better.  I’m exhausted now – I’m going to try to get some sleep.

When will it change?

Standard

I’ve never really paid attention to what the other teachers at my school do in their rooms.  I only know what the teachers have told me.  Recently, however, I’ve gone more out of my way to see what goes on in other rooms – and I’m appalled!  There doesn’t seem to one one developmentally appropriate classroom in my school besides my class!  It’s sad and I feel for the children who are missing out on sooo much!  Here are a few examples:

Kindergarten:  I don’t like getting the Kindergarten children in my class every afternoon when their teachers go home.  They are wild, loud, and incredibly disrespectful!  Now I think I might understand why.  It has come to my attention that all they do all morning is sit at table and do worksheets.  No play.  No fun.  Workbooks and worksheets.  I was skeptical of this – how could anyone make a 5 year old do worksheets all day?  How can this be meaningful work to a child?  So I questioned the children – and they confirmed what I had been told!  The sad thing is – no one but myself sees a problem with this!

Older Pre-k Class:  These children are 5 but had birthdays that were after the Kindergarten cut off date or were simply not ready.  So they are put in this class for an extra year.  I was talking to the teacher telling her about some of the collages and gluing projects we’ve been doing and about some of the paintings my children have made.  She got this look of horror on her face and exclaimed, “You let your kids glue by themselves and use paint in the classroom?!”  I nodded in confirmation.  Her reply was, “I never let my students touch a glue bottle or paint in class – it’s too messy!”  Never let them paint or glue?!  I wanted to ask her:  “What is wrong with you?!” but I knew better.  She told me if an art project requires glue – she does it for them.  Anyone else beside me see a problem with this?!  I’m disgusted!

3 year old class:  These children come in and are barely 3 years old.  I walked in one day on my break to ask for something and there was the teacher sitting at a table do worksheets with 3 year old children!  Yes – with 3 year old children!  As you can imagine I was, once again, appalled and disgusted!  She later told me that parents expect them and that’s how they can show parents how the children are learning…and blah blah blah.  Nonsense.  Then I looked around at the art on her walls – all coloring sheets!  No opened ended art at all!  None.  These children are simply deprived!  No wonder they are over whelmed with the variety of choices they get when they come to my class!  They’ve never had the opportunity to think and discover for themselves!

It’s just sad.  And these aren’t the only examples I can give.  There are plenty more.  I work at a school where teachers don’t care about developmentally appropriate practice – and neither does the director.  It seems like their motto is, “Whatever is the easiest is the best!”  Most of all I feel sorry for the children.  This is why I fight so hard to keep worksheets out of my class and more hands on experiences in.  A fight I have to continue on Monday because  a parent (actually one of the same parents from before) complained again about the lack of worksheets.  But I know in my heart what children need to grow and develop fully and as an adult in their life, I need to stand up for them and be their voice in this matter.  So, I have to try to convince my director (who told me she likes worksheets – so basically she is on the parents side in this matter) to let me do some parent education and hand out this brochure next week.  Wish me good luck…Lord knows I’ll need it!

Deep breath, calm down – and vent!

Standard

A couple of weeks ago Ms. Lezze-Faire came to Ms. Bennet while I was on my break and started questioning her as to what our curriculum was and what we did in class.  She of course had no idea.  Apparently two parents had complained that their young child couldn’t be learning anything in our class because they weren’t bringing home worksheets.  And, of course, the parents couldn’t just come directly to the teachers and ask – that would be too easy!  They just HAD to involve Ms. Lezze-Faire!

So, Ms. Bennet explained that we don’t do worksheets because we feel that they are not developmentally appropriate for young children.  She also explained to her some of our hands-on activities that we do to get the children involved in their learning.  She also mentioned that we conducted and sent home progress reports in December (and will do so again mid-March) and that the majority of the children were right on track.  She also explained that we don’t follow the schools “Letter of the Week” curriculum – we have made the choice to introduce the letters that correspond to our thematic units – and so far it has worked because 90% of my students know 3/4 or more of the alphabet (both upper and lower case).

When I got back from my break Ms. Lezze-Faire and Ms. Bennet got me up to speed on the conversation.  I asked her who the parents were that were concerned.  She wouldn’t tell us.  I don’t know why – maybe she was afraid we would actually say something to them and work the problem out!  She finally broke down and gave us a small hint – implying that this child went to a different school last year. That narrows it down to 2 friends in my class – I just wish I knew which one it was! She also said the other child has a sibling in Kindergarten right now – and I only have one child in my class who fits that description!

She went on to say that she loves how every teacher has their own teaching style.  But in that same breath she told us that we should start doing a couple worksheets a week just to “appease the parents”!  Umm – no.  I don’t think so.  If these parents have such an issue with how we teach – they need to come to us and let us know!

I told Ms. Lezze-Faire if they had bothered to come to parents night at the beginning of the year – they would have known and fully understood how we teach our class!  But God forbid a parent can sacrifice one evening for their child!  She agreed but said there was nothing we could do about that.  It still irritates me that only 3 of my parents showed up that night – and I have 20 children in my class!  But I digress…

I asked Ms. Lezze-Faire  who cares if we do worksheets as long as the children learn what they need to know?  Her answer:  Apparently the parents care!  (gasp) Wow!  This is the one time they actually seem to care!  Go figure.  Then she said she didn’t know what else to tell me;  I’d just have to work it out as best as I could.  In my head I rolled my eyes and sarcastically said, “thanks a lot!” but on the outside I smiled and thanked her for telling us.

So this last week I made a point to talk the parents of our friend who has a sibling in Kindergarten.  I told them how bright he was and how he would be ready for Kindergarten come fall.  I went on and on – I really laid it on thick because I know he will be more than ready!  (Although he does have a tendency to sometimes act like a two year old!  Boys can be so immature.)  Anyway, his mother smiled at me and said (this is a direct quote), “Oh I’ve been wondering about that!  We haven’t enrolled him in Kindergarten because we didn’t know if he’d be ready!  But now we can sign the papers!  Thank you!  He likes school so much – he even does his sisters homework!”  Yes, you read that right.  Apparently, he does his sisters homework!  His sister who is in Kindergarten!  Yet – she wasn’t sure if he was “ready” for Kindergarten!  How does this possibly make any sense!  It makes me want to scream and pull my hair out!

And in case you were wondering, I have no plans to “appease the parents”.  If they have an issue – they can come and talk to one or both of us – end of story.  I am here to do what’s best for the children.  They come first and are my priority.  And I will not compromise that for anyone.

Ms. Lezze-Faire strikes again!

Standard

Ms. Lezze-Faire sometimes astounds me.  Last week we were playing with play dough at one of our centers when she came into our room.  When she saw the play dough, she got this disgusted look on her face!  I asked her what was wrong and she replied, “I hate play dough!  It’s disgusting!”  I gave her a quizzical look and she said that it’s just a germ spreader because children wipe their noses and put their fingers in their mouth and then touch the play dough.

I didn’t know what to say – I was dumbfounded!  I told her that my children don’t wipe their noses with their hands – they use tissue – especially this late in the school year.  I also said that we watch them carefully so nothing goes in their mouths.  But she didn’t care – she said she still wouldn’t have it in her classroom!

Then she saw the unit blocks.  When I came into my class 3 years ago – the only blocks I had were Lego’s.  No wooden blocks at all!  So, over the past 3 years I have accumulated about 100 unit blocks for my class and about 70 tree blocks.  All out of my own pocket – and they’re not cheap!  Which is why I got almost all used on eBay.  When she saw them she asked where they came from.  I told her I bought them because I felt the children needed them as part of a good preschool classroom.  She just said, “Oh, I see.” and walked out.  I still have no idea why she even came into my class to begin with – it’s a mystery!

In case you were wondering why she didn’t buy me wooden blocks out of the school’s budget?  She told me, when I asked, that there were no wooden blocks in any of the classrooms because the children throw them and make them into weapons!  That was her excuse!  I couldn’t believe my ears!  Who is running the classroom anyway?!  Where are the teachers supposed to be?!  I told her that has never happened in any of my classrooms!  I set boundaries for my children and clear expectations and they follow along with no hassle.

It is very evident Ms. Lezze-Faire has no concept of developmentally appropriate practice…

*Picture found through Google Images*